The son of a Connecticut state employee cashed his dead father’s state pension and federal Social Security checks for 16 years until federal investigators learned of the father’s death in 2012 and discovered he stole nearly $350,000.
Raymond LaChance, of Spring Hill, Florida, illegally collected $161,002 in Social Security benefits plus $182,832 in Connecticut pension payments sent to his late father, Francis.
In 2011, the last full-year of Connecticut pension payments, the state paid $15,100, according to the Office of Fiscal Analysis.
In October, a federal judge sentenced LaChance, who pleaded guilty over the summer, to a year in prison and ordered him to pay restitution.
The State Employee Retirement Commission, with the advice of Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Leonard Boyle, voted on Oct. 29 to forego prosecution of LaChance under Connecticut law to participate in a federal settlement and receive restitution soon.
However, SERC staff later learned the deadline for such an arrangement passed two days earlier on Oct. 27. Although SERC submitted the request to the Attorney General’s Office, it had to go to the Chief State’s Attorney instead because it dealt with a criminal matter, according to SERC minutes from Nov. 20.
Staff also reported the pension fund is writing checks to 2,138 beneficiaries over the age of 90.
Update: Deputy Chief State’s Attorney Leonard Boyle said the judge who sentenced LaChance included a restitution order for the amount stolen from Connecticut. He said the missed deadline did not impact the state’s ability to obtain the order. “We were better off having all this rolled into the federal case,” Boyle said, explaining the decision to decline prosecution under state law.